What Happens If I Don't Stop for the Police?

When many of us see the flashing lights or hear the sirens of a police cruiser behind us, our hearts drop. We know that these signals mean that we have possibly done something wrong, and the cop wants to talk to us about it. It could also mean being arrested, charged, and/or convicted of a criminal offense.

Our minds race as we think of what being pulled over by the police could mean for our future. Under stress, we might forget what to do, or we might keep driving until we've had time to process the situation. Unfortunately, the cop expects us to pull over after we've been signaled to do so.

If you don't stop for a cop, you could be charged with fleeing a peace officer.

Facing a Felony Charge

In Minnesota, if a police officer is signaling for you to stop your vehicle, you must do so. Failing to comply is illegal, and you could be hit with a felony charge.

According to the law, if you do any of the following while driving and being signaled to stop, you could be accused of fleeing:

  • Speed up;
  • Turn off your headlights or taillights;
  • Refuse to stop your car; or
  • Engage in any other conduct that is an attempt to "lose" the officer

Therefore, it's crucial that if you are being pulled over by the cops, you stop as soon as it is safe to do so. Because fleeing is a felony offense, it's possible you could be facing more severe penalties than you would have had you stopped when initially signaled to do so. For instance, if the original reason was a citable offense, you would merely have received a ticket. However, by trying to get away from the cop, you run the risk of being criminally charged. Additionally, if your case gets taken to trial, you could be convicted for fleeing and have a mark on your criminal record.

What Consequences Could I Face for Fleeing?

Eluding a police officer while you are driving a car is a felony. If you're convicted, the exact penalties you could face depend on the particulars of your circumstances.

The potential punishments include:

  • Up to 3 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines for fleeing an officer
  • Up to 5 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines for fleeing an officer and causing substantial injury to another person
  • Up to 7 years in prison and/or up to $14,000 in fines for fleeing an officer and causing great bodily harm to someone else
  • Up to 40 years in prison and/or up to $80,000 in fines for fleeing an officer and causing another person's death

In addition to imprisonment and fines, if you're convicted, you may be subject to a driver's license revocation.

What If I Wasn't Driving?

Minnesota's law prohibiting fleeing from an officer is concerned with not only circumstances in which the alleged violator was driving a car, but also when they are on foot or using some other mode of transportation.

The statute provides that running from a cop, by means other than driving a motor vehicle, to do any of the following is a misdemeanor:

  • Avoid arrest
  • Avoid detention
  • Avoid an investigation
  • Conceal or destroy evidence

The conviction penalties for this offense include up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Have you been charged with a crime in Minneapolis? Contact Brockton D. Hunter P.A. at (612) 979-1112 to get our award-winning criminal defense lawyers on your side.